Celtic gold found in Germany

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(ORDO NEWS) — An amateur archaeologist from Brandenburg has discovered a trace of an Iron Age hoard.

Near the village of Bayz in the German state of Brandenburg, amateur archaeologist Wolfgang Herkt found ten gold coins. However, one can hardly call him an amateur: Herkt is the honorary curator of the Brandenburg Land Office for the Protection of Monuments and the Brandenburg State Archaeological Museum. After he reported the find to his colleagues, archaeological excavations began at the site.

Since then, a total of 41 coins have been found . Most of them are gold, although there are a few silver and even copper specimens. The coins have an unusual bowl shape, they are also called “rainbow cups” and are strongly associated with the Celtic tradition of minting banknotes. And here the difficulties begin.

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The fact is that the Celts never lived on the territory of the modern state of Brandenburg. And, accordingly, Celtic gold had never been found there before (although in general gold coin treasures were dug up).

What is especially interesting: this find is the second largest hoard of “rainbow cups” in history, and the largest was found in Britain, where the Celts, of course, lived.

Comparing the weight and size of the coins with coins from other ancient hoards, experts dated their minting to the period 125-30 BC, the late Iron Age.

Researchers associate them with the La Tène archaeological culture. It is related to the Celts and was common in Central and Southern Europe, as well as in Britain and Ireland in the 6th century BC (before the start of large-scale Roman conquests).

By the 1st century BC (the estimated time of minting coins), representatives of the La Tène culture occupied the territory of present-day England, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, southern Germany and the Czech Republic. But not the land of Brandenburg: it remained to the north of the cultural area.

The treasure was found on the site of an early German settlement belonging to the Jastorfsky archaeological culture. In general, the Jastorf culture is a rather controversial topic in the professional archaeological community.

The excavations of the settlements and burial grounds related to it were mainly carried out by German archaeologists, who also formed the theoretical foundations.

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Thus, the discoverer of the Jastorf monuments, Gustav Schwantes, considered the core (in his opinion, there was also a periphery) of this culture, in addition to the north of Germany, Jutland.

In German archeology, the concept of “Jastorf civilization” was even formed. Schwantes’ Danish colleagues categorically disagreed with such a formulation of the issue. As a result, there is still no common opinion about where the northern border of the Jastorf culture passed.

In any case, the state of Brandenburg is included in its core. One or two Celtic coins could be an accident, the result of multiple exchanges between neighboring regions. But 41 coins, most likely, indicates to us that large trade operations were carried out between the Celts and the local population. They, as we understand, could not go if there was no peaceful cooperation between the peoples.

Therefore, the discovery of so many typical Celtic artifacts indicates, first of all, that we do not have a good idea of ​​the economic ties between different regions of Europe in the late Iron Age.

The fact is that historians always prefer written sources, if they do not contradict archaeological finds. And the history of Europe during the period of the beginning of the Roman conquests is known to us mainly from the testimonies of the Romans themselves.

And these sources are sometimes surprising: they forgot to list the military formations that participated in a particular campaign (well, at least the commanders were always named), but they did not spare colors to describe the savagery, ferocity and bloodthirstiness of the peoples inhabiting the lands to be conquered.

That is why the discovery of Celtic coins in clearly Germanic lands is so important: the more archaeological (material) evidence contradicts Roman sources, the better we can understand the real history of Europe before the beginning of our era, and not the one written by the winners.


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